Pakistan to approach IMF for help over balance of payments: Miftah

Islamabad, April 13 : Finance adviser in-waiting to the Pakistan government Miftah Ismail has said that the new government will soon restart negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance of payments support, Dawn reported on Wednesday. Miftah accused the PTI government of leaving Pakistan in an unprecedented economic mess, including the highest-ever fiscal deficit of Rs6.4 trillion (slightly over 10 per cent of GDP), adding that the problems left by the PTI government was such that all the problems will take time to resolve, but at least the prices of items like wheat flour and sugar would be brought down as quickly as possible with the support of provincial governments. Miftah said that stabilising the declining foreign exchange reserves and increasing them is the most important thing at the moment. He further said that the Pakistan government will take the existing programme with the IMF forward and complete its three reviews, which involve about $3 billion in outstanding disbursement, by September. We will negotiate with the IMF and try to persuade them to ease the tough conditions so that the government could provide relief to the nation. He explained that the current account deficit (CAD) for the current fiscal year was estimated at $20bn — by far the highest ever. It meant Pakistan had to fund $6bn CAD on top of about $3bn debt repayments during the remaining period of the fiscal year. The financing needs for next year were estimated at $30bn. He said the State Bank currently had $11.3bn in reserves and unless there was an IMF programme, neither can there be assistance from friendly countries nor from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank nor the international bond market. ACL0830

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